Max Ajl, “One State, Two States: Who is the subject of Palestinian liberation?”

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Max Ajl, “One State, Two States: Who Is the Subject of Palestinian Liberation?”
In Finkelstein’s explicit demands to water down the struggle lies a tacit recognition that his battalions of disaffected liberals, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, are not the ones capable of fighting an anti-systemic struggle. In another irony, they are not so different from the battalions that those who pin the blame for the occupation merely on the lobby and the foreign influence on our government — and it cannot be stated strongly enough that this is a raw appeal to racist white-power jingoism — assume will liberate Palestine. Both camps appeal to the middle classes to liberate Palestine: the former to its Democratic component, the latter to its Republican one, the former to liberalism, and the latter to nativist nationalism. Rejecting anti-systemic struggle, both refuse to embrace an insurrectionary politics of bottom-up mobilization. Both look for a quick solvent to melt the chains shackling the Palestinian people. That solvent is snake oil. There are no short cuts.
and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land Theft & Destruction / Attacks on Protests Against Land Theft / Restriction of Movement / Apartheid 

Special Report | Palestinian home demolitions: the ethnic cleansing that dare not speak its name
Livia Bergmeijer reports on the destruction by Israeli bulldozers earlier today of two Palestinian families’ homes. This is the latest in a long-running pattern across the occupied territories, whose rate and methods, Bergmeijer argues, betray a policy of gradual ethnic cleansing at work.

Israel bulldozes two houses without demolition orders
In the morning of January 25, the Israeli army demolished two houses in the Bedouin village of Umm Al Kheer and seized a tractor in the village of Khallet el Mayya.

33 left homeless after IDF destroy family homes
Yesterday morning Israeli forces destroyed the home of a Bedouin family near the East Jerusalem city of Anata in the Bedouin encampment, ‘Arab al-Jahalin. According to a report released by Grassroots Jerusalem, a total of eight structures were demolished.

Israeli forces ‘demolish 2 homes’ in Bedouin village
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces demolished two houses on Wednesday in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Kheer, south Hebron, a rights group said. Operation Dove said that two bulldozers arrived in the village at 9.00 a.m. escorted by military jeeps. The two homes did not have demolition orders. After finishing the demolition, Israeli forces went to the nearby village of Khallet al-Maiyya and confiscated a tractor belonging to villagers. Residents tried to prevent the confiscation by standing between Israeli forces.

Halper vows to rebuild Palestinian home destroyed five times by Israeli soldiers, Philip Weiss
The other night the Israelis demolished all structures in a Bedouin community outside Anata in the occupied West Bank. The Shawamreh house in that community has been demolished five times by the Israelis.

New Israeli search method at West Bank checkpoint worries Palestinians
According to eyewitness reports, Israeli police officers have begun searching Palestinian vehicles at a Bethlehem checkpoint through use of nausea-inducing chemicals.

Without water, Palestine can forget about statehood
The recent French report denouncing Israel’s water apartheid confirmed what many Palestinians already knew—water resources in the Occupied Territories are controlled by Israel. Palestinians, unlike Israeli settlers, find their access to water severely restricted. Palestinians discuss life without enough water.

AICafe 28.1.11: Al Haq attorney on illegality of land swaps
Please join us on Saturday, January 28, at 8:00 pm for a discussion with Al Haq attorney Elisabeth Koek about the illegality of land swap agreements under the Israeli occupation.

The great book robbery, Karina Goulordava
June 1948, Israeli soldiers advance in an affluent Arab neighborhood, now almost deserted, in western Jerusalem. The soldiers are followed by several librarians from the national library. Sporadic gunfire is heard. The men cling against the walls as they arrive in a street with big wealthy houses, their occupants left in haste. Breaking into house after house, the librarians “collect” entire libraries into boxes which are loaded onto trucks. Similar scenes repeat themselves throughout the Arab neighborhoods of western Jerusalem and later on in Haifa, Jaffa, Nazareth and other places. In total, 70,000 Palestinian books were “collected” in this manner.

Violence by Israeli Forces and Settlers 

There is ongoing discussion within the army as to whether the shells should be used in a future operations in Gaza. A debate is raging within the IDF over whether the military should use artillery shells, which contain white phosphorus, in a future operation in the Gaza Strip. During Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2009, the IDF fired a number of 155 mm shells – called M825A1 – which are used to provide a smokescreen for troop movements or to mark targets.

IOF soldiers fire at protesting Palestinians near Nabi Yusuf
Hundreds of Jewish settlers escorted by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed the Nabi Yusuf shrine to the east of Nablus city at midnight Monday.

Israeli Forces Raid Beit Ommar
On Tuesday, January 24th, 2012, Israeli occupation forces raided the Palestinian town of Beit Ommar, north of the city of Hebron, and searched several residents’ homes. No arrests were made during the house searches. According to the media spokesman of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ommar Yousef Abu Maria, the occupation forces stormed the houses of Bahgat Shehda al-Alami and Mohamed Hussein al-Alami, after forcing both families out of their houses. The soldiers conducted inspections to the houses and tampered with its contents. Abu Maria pointed out that in addition to the almost daily night raids, occupation forces stationed at the military watch tower at the entrance of the town, are enforcing daily provocative measures on Palestinian villagers and restricting their movement.

Political Detainees 

Barghouti sent to isolation after Israel comments
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti was sent to solitary confinement on Wednesday after making critical comments about Israel to journalists. After testifying in a Jerusalem court on Wednesday the Fatah leader briefly spoke to reporters. Upon returning to Hadarim prison in Israel, Barghouti was not allowed back into his regular cell and was instead put in isolation, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said Thursday.

Extending the detention of many kids from Silwan and presenting a charge list
Sunday 22 January, the Israeli persecution presented a charge list to the Israel magistrate court against Ibrahim Qaraeen17, Anas Qaraeen 16, Amar Qaraeen 18, Muhammad Qaraeenand yousif al Abbasi. The charge list included throwing Molotov cocktail against the settler’s houses during the last year 2011, and forming a cell. Their detention was extended until the time of the court two sessions which were set to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The kids were arrested one and a half month ago Ibrahim Qaraean” Archive”

IOF troops round up 7 Palestinians including two brothers
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up seven Palestinians in various West Bank areas at dawn Thursday including two brother in Al-Khalil, local sources said.

Israeli forces arrest 6 people across West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained six people on Thursday across the West Bank, Israel’s army and Palestinian security sources said. Security sources told Ma’an that Ahmad Kawaziya, Naseem Mohammad Kawaziya and Ghareeb Amjad Kawaziya were detained from Tuqu village, south of Bethlehem. One man was also arrested in Tulkarem and two others were detained in al-Samu village, south of Hebron. An Israeli army spokeswoman said they were taken for security questioning. Around 40 percent of Palestinian men living in the occupied territories have been detained by Israel at some point in their lives, Palestinian Authority reports indicate.

IOF soldiers round up 8 citizens
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up eight Palestinian citizens in various West Bank areas at dawn Tuesday, Hebrew press reported.

Fatah operative jailed for pre-Oslo crimes
Ursan As’ad, an Israeli Arab, moved to Lebanon and planned terror attacks that never materialized, but justices say deterrence must be considered because peace not yet attained. Dissenting opinion: Reduce 7-year sentence because he backs peace process.,7340,L-4180352,00.html

Minister of Detainees Calls for Boycott of Military Courts
Palestinian Minister of Detainees in the West Bank, Issa Qaraqe’, called for the boycotting of all Israeli military courts for their repeated rulings that confine thousands of detainees under administrative orders without filing any official indictments against them.

High Follow-up Committee for Prisoner Affairs solidarity vigil outside the Red Cross
The High Follow-up Committee for Prisoner Affairs in Nablus, in the north of the occupied West Bank, held a solidarity vigil today in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The protest took place in front of the Red Cross offices in the district. The vigil comes in the wake of escalated attacks by the Israeli occupation authorities against Palestinian prisoners – often accompanied by daily abuse and extreme punishment – as well as the ongoing denial of their human rights. A number of prominent personalities, including the Minister for Prisoner Affairs in the West Bank, Mr Isa Qaraqi and members of the Palestinian parliament, took part.

9 detainees injured in Israeli prison fire
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Nine Palestinian detainees were injured on Thursday after a fire broke out in the Israeli jail Maasiyahu, Israeli media reported. One prisoner was in a critical condition and two others were in a serious condition after detainees set fire to a mattress in the prison near Ramla, the Israeli daily Ynet said.


Gaza economy crushed by Israeli export restrictions
Why are Gaza residents allowed to market goods via Israel and the West Bank to Jordan but not market goods in those places? Since June 2007, not a single product from the Gaza Strip has been allowed to be sold in Israel or the West Bank – once Gaza’s traditional markets. These restrictions have paralyzed the manufacturing sector in the Gaza Strip and led to high unemployment rates.

300 truckloads of goods enter Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces allowed limited commercial and agricultural goods into Gaza on Thursday via the Kerem Shalom crossing. Israel allowed 300 truckloads of goods to enter Gaza and two trucks of flowers and strawberries to be exported from the coastal enclave, Palestinian border crossing official Raed Fattouh told Ma’an. Twenty-two cars will also enter Gaza together with communications equipment and cement for international projects, he said. The southernmost border crossing is the only operating entry point for commercial goods and humanitarian aid into the coastal enclave, which is home to more than 1.65 million Palestinians.

Six more misconceptions about Gaza (the international edition)
In the last post, we attempted to delineate some of the common misconceptions or simplifications about Gaza, which, broadly speaking, are heard most often in Israel. This week, we’d like to list a few more that usually come at us from abroad.

Tribute to a Palestinian ‘Gandhi’ — Mahmoud Abu Rahma of Al Mezan, Pam Bailey
The unrecognized heroes of Palestine are the human rights investigators.  Their job is to investigate and expose the atrocities committed against their people, no matter who the perpetrator — Israeli or Palestinian. Nine times out of 10, they are stymied, stonewalled at every step. Or — worse. Like Mahmoud Abu Rahma, director of international relations for Gaza’s Al Mezan Center of Human Rights. He is slowly recovering from his second assault in a month; this second time, he was lucky to escape with his life.

Protest / Activism / BDS 

Massive march in Al-Khalil against negotiations, violation of rights
A massive march was organized for the 29th time in Al-Khalil on Tuesday against negotiations with Israel and violations of citizens’ rights.*

Hackers launch fresh attacks on Israeli websites
Arab hackers claimed responsibility Wednesday for a series of attacks on prominent Israeli websites, including that of daily newspaper Haaretz. Cyber-attacks against Israeli sites have been increasing since the start of the month, many of them claimed by Arab hackers.


‘Occupy AIPAC’ now has 100 orgs behind it (and neocons try to block its appeal to ‘Jewish liberals’), Philip Weiss
This is interesting. More than 100 organizations are moving ahead to “Occupy AIPAC” at the beginning of March in Washington. It will be some party near the convention center– a lot of coalition-building and consciousness-raising. “We are the 99 percent, from Cairo to NY, from Jerusalem to DC.”

Uproar at PENN over a BDS Conference

A Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) conference is set to take place next week at the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN). As one would expect, the fact that the conference is taking place has created a furor. The President of the University, Amy Gutmann, released an anodyne statement disavowing any connection with the conference. She released no such statement last year when the faculty and students were incensed about a talk to be delivered on campus by Eric Cantor on the theme of income inequality (Congressman Cantor eventually cancelled his appearance). The goose and gander do not get the same treatment from President Gutmann.

Bad career move by Tilda Swinton, Philip Weiss
A flick through the November issue of the British edition of Vogue revealed one accessory I did not expect to see. After pages of faux fur, sequinned clutches and designer feathered capes, I happened upon something rather more surprising: a full-page shot of actress Tilda Swinton sporting a knitted scarf emblazoned not with a designer logo but with the word “Palestine.”

Racism / Discrimination 

Israeli “satire” show Latma TV represents Africans as dancing, banana-eating baboons, Ali Abunimah
The Israeli “satire” show Latma TV produces an animated cartoon that represents African people as apes. Latma TV has become notorious for its racist videos, including one which spread a libel that Muslim men were responsible for a “rape epidemic” in Norway.

4 haredim suspected of assaulting woman released
Court orders release of three of five suspects arrested in connection to attack on woman in Beit Shemesh; police release another suspect.,7340,L-4180849,00.html

Victim of haredi attack: I thought I was going to die
Beit Shemesh resident Natalie Mashiah, who was assaulted by haredim while hanging signs in a synagogue, says she begged assailants to leave her alone, but they wouldn’t. ‘Some 50 people stood by and watched. Nobody said or did anything,’ she recounts.,7340,L-4180414,00.html

NYPD played anti-Muslim movie ‘on continuous loop’ at training
The New York Police Department showed an anti-Muslim film “on a continuous loop” for between three months and one year of training at its COBRA (Chemical, Ordinance, Biological, and Radiological) Unit, which provides terrorism awareness training. According to the New York Times, the documentary The Third Jihad showed Muslim terrorists shooting Christians in the head, executed children covered by sheets and a fake photograph of an Islamic flag flying above the White House. One of those interviewed in the film says that “Islamism is like cancer.”

NYPD Lies Through It’s Teeth About Involvement in Third Jihad, Richard Silverstein
The NYPD has gotten itself wound up in knots over all the lies it’s told about its involvement in the anti-Muslim film, Third Jihad. The film was produced by the Clarion Fund, an offshoot of the pro-settler group, Aish HaTorah. When Arab police officers complained to a Village Voice columnist a few years back after they sat through a screening of the film, the police department denied any connection to it. The Brennan Center for Justice filed a Freedom of Information request which revealed that the film was in fact shown to 1,300 police officers (a significant percentage of those involved in anti-terror assignments).  Now the police flacks claim that while it may’ve been shown to officers, this wasn’t an officially sanctioned program.


Political Developments / Diplomacy / Other News

Fatah official: Israel responsible for failed talks
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israel bears full responsibility for the failure of exploratory talks in Amman, Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muheisen said Thursday. Muheisen told Ma’an that negotiations could not take place while Israel continued to build illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel responded to talks with Palestinian officials in Amman by confiscating land, building settlements, and demolishing houses, he added. The Fatah official said the PLO was preparing new strategies to improve its diplomatic relations and enhance popular resistance.

Israel’s Refusal to Present Borders with Palestinian State Marks End of Talks
The recent talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have reached a standstill, with the Israeli negotiators refusing to present borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state. With the deadline set for Thursday January 26 by Palestinian negotiators, and no progress having been made, the talks have been declared a failure.

EU working on Israeli incentives package for PA
Palestinians declare exploratory talks with Israel ‘a failure’ as parties hold last meeting in Amman. EU’s Ashton scrambles to salvage negotiations, keep Palestinians from walking away from talks. Abbas to consider next steps with Arab League next week. 
Israeli, Palestinian negotiators clash at Jordan meeting
Saeb Erekat refused to let senior Israeli officer present Israeli stance on security issues; sides will meet for fifth time on Wednesday.

Abbas wants Jordan meeting to be last
AMMAN, Jordan (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority officials asserted Wednesday that President Mahmoud Abbas “refused and will continue to refuse” holding more meetings between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Jordan. Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are scheduled to hold a fifth meeting in Amman on Wednesday in an attempt to resume face-to-face peace negotiations and sort out unresolved issues.

German group cuts support for Palestinian rights NGO
Remembrance, Responsibility and Future, known by its German acronym, EVZ, says it supports education projects, but not those with a political agenda.

Reporters Without Borders Ranks Israel 97th in World for Press Freedom, Richard Silverstein
Reporters Without Borders has published its annual ranking (full report here) of world nations by their level of press freedom.  Israel, that bastion of western democracy and values in the midst of the “hellhole” that is the Middle East (or in Ehud Barak’s vivid image, the “villa in the jungle”) doesn’t fare too well.  It ranks 97th out of the 179 countries evaluated (coded in the category “Noticeable Problems”), behind such exemplars of freedom as Congo, Madagascar and Moldova:

Hacker: I leaked confidential Iranian docs
Pro-Israeli hacker ‘Hannibal’ releases files said to contain secret info on Islamic Republic, but documents prove to be a dud.,7340,L-4180954,00.html

Egypt one year later

Egyptian speaker rejects invitation to visit Israel
Speaker of the Egyptian parliament Mohamed Al-Katatni said he refused to receive a letter sent by Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin inviting him to visit Israel and address the Knesset.

Egypt protesters stay in square
Thousands of Egyptians remain in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after a huge rally to mark the first anniversary of the uprising which toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt’s military lifts emergency law – with one big loophole
On the eve of the Egyptian revolution anniversary, military leader Hussein Tantawi said the hated emergency law – a key tool of repression – would be lifted except in cases of ‘thuggery.’

Egypt’s revolution: a year on
Today, January 25, we mark the anniversary of the beginning of the Egyptian revolution. A year on, what has changed in Egypt and the region? And what are the implications for Israel and the United States, two countries that are accustomed to dictating the regional agenda?


A Year After January 25, Max Ajl
It was a good day for the 1st anniversary of the beginning of the Egyptian insurrection. Most of the past week has been grey, cloudy, an early khamsin filling the air with desert dust. Last night early arrivers to Tahrir Square were welcomed with a shower. But today was almost balmy as we set out from Dokki, across two bridges, and then to Tahrir Square. In the long and narrow streets, rimmed by tall buildings, shouted slogans echoed up and down: “Down with military rule!”

Tahrir at One: The Revolution Lives On
On the morning of January 25, the first anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, the streets of Cairo were eerily and uncharacteristically deserted with the exception of the iconic Tahrir Square. In the square, young people of all stripes: leftists, Islamists, liberal, young, and with families, were out to renew their alleigance to a revolution still in the making.
Egyptian revolution anniversary: 4 activists explain the work left
On the anniversary of the Egyptian uprising that swept former President Hosni Mubarak from power, many of those who protested are not celebrating. Egyptians are left with the regime Mr. Mubarak built, and unelected military rulers who seem intent on preserving that regime. Instead of the freedom they hoped for, Egyptians have faced human rights abuses just as bad, if not worse, than under the previous government.

Egypt: Sharif Abdel Kouddous Reports from Cairo as Crowds Mark 1 Year of Revolution in Tahrir Square
As tens of thousands of Egyptians gather in Tahrir Square to mark the first anniversary of the start of the revolution that ended Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade reign, we go to Cairo to speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who has reported on the popular uprising since it began. “What happened on January 25th was really an uprising that was 10 years in the making, a growing resistance movement to the Mubarak regime, to a regime that was characterized by a sprawling police apparatus that engaged in quashing of dissent and torture, a paralyzed body politic, and rampant corruption,” Kouddous says. “People speak about the barrier of fear being broken, but I really think it was a lack of hope. And that was the gift that Tunisia gave to Egypt: [it] was that here is the dream you can achieve, and here’s the hope that you can change, if you take to the streets.”

Democracy Now!’s Sharif Kouddous
Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous is the central character in the new HBO documentary airing tonight, “In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution.” The film chronicles the uprising though the reporting of Kouddous, and it looks at what the protest meant for his uncle, Mohamed Abdel Quddoos, a longtime Egyptian dissident who was arrested dozens of times by the Mubarak regime. We’re joined by Kouddous in Cairo, as well as the team behind the film: Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill of Downtown Community Television; and independent filmmaker Jacquie Soohen of Big Noise Films.

Tahrir Square Music: Sounds of Rebels
As the revolution in Egypt kicked off, so did the work of many young artists who began to sing more politically inspired tunes. Amman – The late German composer Theodor Adorno believed that popular music can not genuinely be a part of political resistance. He saw it as too “stabilized” and favored championing radical modern music instead. The revolution has introduced radical notions of what counts as music, with political songs turning into pop ones.

Interview: rapper Sphinx on why Egypt uprising had a hip-hop soundtrack
Hesham Alofoq (aka Sphinx) of the Egyptian hip-hop group Arabian Knightz speaks to The Electronic Intifada about the history of hip-hop in Egypt and the Middle East, the future of the Egyptian uprising, and the role that music plays in the revolt.

The Mother of Tahrir Square, Patrick Galey
Sipping juice in one of downtown Cairo’s heirloom coffee houses, Khadiga Hennawi lights a cigarette with her hand bound in plaster, which is the only indication of what she has witnessed since the revolution. A steady stream of young adults approaches her table, alternatively encouraged or admonished by the lady they call “Mama,” who flashes kind looks from her remaining good eye. She may only have three biological children – grown up and working high-paid jobs overseas – but to thousands of Egyptian revolutionaries, Khadiga Hennawi is mother.

Revolution through Arab Eyes – The Republic of Tahrir
It became the physical and symbolic heart of a revolution, but have Egyptians kept the spirit of Tahrir alive?


Ten dead in attack on policeman’s home in Iraq: sources (Reuters)
Reuters – An Iraqi policeman and nine relatives were killed as they slept when militants bombed their home south of Baghdad on Thursday, police sources said, in the latest attack on local officials and security forces.*

Nine Dead Across Iraq
At least nine Iraqis were killed and six more were wounded in light violence, only a day after significant bloodshed was seen across Iraq. The worst of the violence took place in the northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk.

Iraq Attacks: 34 Killed, 109 Wounded
A series of bombs targeting Shi’ite neighborhoods in Baghdad left behind dozens of casualties. However, there was an unusually large number of smaller attacks across the country as well. This often happens when there is a significant attack or attacks in the capital, as overseas attention is focused back on Iraq. Overall, at least 34 Iraqis were killed and 109 more were wounded in thes violence.

Official: Iraq will take legal action over US raid (AP)
AP – Iraq will take legal action to ensure justice for the families of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians killed in a U.S. raid in Haditha seven years ago, a government spokesman said Thursday, after the lone U.S. Marine convicted in the killings reached a deal to escape jail time.*

US soldier to serve no time for Iraq killings
Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich demoted to rank of private but will not go behind bars, a military spokesman said.

Iraqi town says justice failed victims of US raid (AP)
AP – In this town which saw 24 unarmed civilians die in a U.S. raid seven years ago, residents expressed disbelief and sadness that the Marine sergeant who told his troops to “shoot first, ask questions later” reached a deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time.*

Iraq al-Qaida says US withdrew to save money (AP)
AP – The U.S. pulled its troops out of Iraq because its economy is collapsing and it needed to save money, an al-Qaida front group said in a message posted on its website Wednesday, its first online comment since the U.S. completed its pullout last month after nine years of war.*

Shiite leader urges end to Iraqi political crisis (AP)
AP – A top Iraqi Shiite official said Thursday that the political crisis pitting Shiite officials against his country’s largest Sunni-backed bloc must end.*


Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen President, To Be Granted Diplomatic Immunity Upon U.S. Arrival
WASHINGTON — The State Department has announced that Yemen’s embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, will have diplomatic immunity while he visits the United States this week for medical treatment. The immunity is being granted to Saleh as it would to any foreign head of state, the State Department said in a statement, and will last “until a new Yemeni president is sworn in following elections on February 21.” Saleh is due to arrive in the country any day to seek treatment at a New York hospital for injuries suffered during a June attack on his presidential compound by anti-regime forces. Saleh’s visit to the U.S. has been a source of great consternation among American policymakers, who have struggled to balance their desire to smooth the way out of power for a longtime American ally with their wish not to be seen as giving special privileges to an Arab autocrat who has violently suppressed popular protests in his country.

Yemeni-Americans scorn Saleh deal, angry at US refuge
A group representing Yemeni Americans demanded on Wednesday the prosecution of outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the freezing of his assets as the dictator flies to the US for treatment. “[The Yemeni-American community] stands completely with the legitimate demands of the Yemeni people: to prosecute Saleh for war crimes and human rights abuses, and to hold free and fair elections with more than just one candidate served up by the current regime,” the Yemeni American Coalition for Change (YACC) said in a statement.


‘Changes in Syria will benefit Israel’
Former MI Chief Amos Yadlin says unrest in Syria may push it out of radical axis naturally.,7340,L-4181208,00.html

Mohamed ElBaradei Possibly New Arab League Envoy To Syria
CAIRO, Jan 25 (Reuters) – The Arab League has approached Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the U.N. nuclear agency, as a possible candidate for the job of special envoy to Syria to follow up an Arab initiative to ease President Bashar al-Assad out of power. “The Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby has made a number of contacts with prominent Arab figures… and among these figures is Dr. ElBaradei,” Egypt’s state MENA news agency quoted Ahmed Ben Helli, a senior official of the 22-member body, as saying.

Humanitarian Official and Priest Killed in Syria
Dr. Abd-al-Razzaq Jbeiro of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent was shot in a vehicle clearly marked with the Red Crescent symbol, and Rev. Basilious Nasser was killed in Hama.
Saudi Arabia
Saudis have held a demonstration against the ruling House of Saud in the east of the kingdom, Press TV reports.
Nine arrested over Saudi ‘riots’
Security forces in Saudi Arabia have detained nine people accused of instigating riots in the eastern region of Qatif, officials say.

Reform activists in Saudi Arabia must receive fair appeal hearings
Sixteen men who were given lengthy prison sentences after they tried to set up a human rights organization in Saudi Arabia should all receive fair appeal hearings, Amnesty International said today as they wait for their cases to be heard. The group including several prominent reform activists, who were sentenced from five to 30 years in November 2011, submitted their appeals to the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh on Monday. All were convicted of breaking allegiance with the King. Most were also convicted of money laundering among other charges.

AP Interview: Saudi warns of Mideast nuclear race (AP)
AP – An influential member of the Saudi royal family warned Wednesday that unless the Middle East becomes a nuclear weapon-free zone, a nuclear arms race is inevitable and could include his own country, Iraq, Egypt and even Turkey.*

Bahrain’s use of tear gas against protesters increasingly deadly
Bahrain must investigate more than a dozen deaths that followed the misuse of tear gas by security forces, Amnesty International has said after another person was seriously injured by a tear gas canister in Manama this week. On Tuesday, 20-year-old Mohammad al-Muwali was seriously injured and hospitalized after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister launched by riot police responding to an anti-government protest in the capital city’s Karrana neighbourhood. A Bahraini human rights group has reported at least 13 deaths resulting from the security forces’ use of tear gas against peaceful protesters as well as inside people’s homes since February 2011, with a rise in such deaths in recent months.

Bahrain kills 4 activists in 24 hrs
A Bahraini police car runs over a protester in the town of Sitra south of the capital Manama, bringing the number of the opposition activists murdered at the hands of the regime over the past 24 hours to four, Press TV reports.

Bahraini protester tortured to death: opposition
An 18-year-old Bahraini activist who died overnight while in police custody was tortured to death, an opposition politician alleged. Mohamed Ibrahim Yaaqoub was detained on Wednesday following clashes between pro-democracy protesters and police in the village of Sitra. Matar Ebahim, a member of the opposition Al-Wefaq party, said police notified the 18-year-old’s family at 1am on Thursday of the boy’s death.

Bahrain police runs over protester
A Bahraini police car runs over an anti-government protester in the town of Sitra south of the capital Manama amid growing protests against the Saudi-backed regime crackdown on pro-democracy rallies in the sheikhdom. 
2 Bahrainis die of toxic gas, injuries
At least two anti-government protesters in Bahrain have died from injuries sustained in a protest and inhaling toxic teargas fired by Saudi-backed regime forces, Press TV reports.

Security forces attack Bahraini protesters
Pro-democracy protests in Bahrain were again attacked by security forces on Tuesday night causing several injuries as authorities scramble to defuse an uprising that is steadily gaining momentum. Bahrain’s official BNA news agency said on Wednesday that riot police attempted to disperse anti-government rallies that blocked roads in a number of villages. Public Security Chief Major General Tariq al-Hassan said “vandals blocked roads” and threw petrol bombs during clashes on Tuesday night, but gave no further details on the exact location of the clashes or if there were any injuries.

Nader astonished by ‘lawless militarism’ in Obama’s address
Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader railed against President Barack Obama’s State of the Union addressduring an appearance Wednesday on Democracy Now.  “I think his lawless militarism, that started the speech and ended the speech, was truly astonishing,” he said. “I mean, he was very committed to projecting the American empire, in Obama terms.” 

Iran oil halt ‘would raise price 30 per cent’
IMF says pause in Iranian production would inflate costs, and sanctions amount to “embargo”, as Iran mulls EU sale ban.

Israel to UN: Tomorrow will be too late for action against Iran
Israel’s envoy to the UN Ron Prosor levies harsh criticism at the Security Council, saying it is obsessed with Israel and ignores crimes of other countries.

Netanyahu cites Holocaust lesson in dealing with Iran
JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, citing the lessons of the Nazi Holocaust and the danger a nuclear-armed Iran, said on Tuesday that Israel must not shy from acting alone to thwart any threat to its existence. Addressing parliament ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, Netanyahu praised a European Union decision on Monday to place sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

‘NYT’ gives big platform to Israeli journalist to espouse Israeli attack on Iran with OK from Uncle Sam, Philip Weiss
The New York Times Magazine runs a long piece by Ronen Bergman, an Israeli journalist, saying Israel will attack Iran soon because it must. The piece is pushy: it contains the hope/promise that the U.S. will give a “flickering green light” to this attack, as it did to Israel’s attack on Egypt that set off the 1967 War. Why on earth should the U.S. do such a thing?

We Aren’t The World:Obama, Iran, and The Arrogance of Empire, Nima Shirazi
The United States and the EU combined account for only about 10% of world’s population. How arrogant it is for Barack Obama to claim this represents the “unity of the international community,” especially when the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) represents over 55% of the world’s population and has repeatedly acknowledged its support for Iran’s right to a peaceful nuclear program under IAEA safeguards?

US, Israel Agree: Iran Not Building Nukes, Ray McGovern
Has Iran decided to build a nuclear bomb? That would seem to be the central question in the current bellicose debate over whether the world should simply cripple Iran’s economy and inflict severe pain on its civilian population or launch a preemptive war to destroy its nuclear capability while possibly achieving “regime change.”  

Avoiding a ‘Dumb War’ With Iran, Philip Giraldi
The media and the punditry have been deliberately misrepresenting facts to persuade the people of the United States to start another war, not unlike in the lead-up to the Iraq fiasco. Since 9/11, hard-liners in the United States have depicted one Muslim country after another as major threats to U.S. security. 

Analysis / Op-ed
SOTU Silence
In a clear indication of just how far off the Obama Administration’s radar screen Israeli-Palestinian peace has fallen, last night’s State of the Union address contained just one perfunctory sentence designed yet again to convince the doubters that indeed Israel has never had it as good as it does under President Obama.

Good career move by Susan Rice, Philip Weiss
We don’t make this up. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. Susan Rice is ambassador to the U.N. but she has her sights on Secretary of State, and so she has made friends in the American Jewish community. Laura Rozen has the incisive report at Yahoo: “UN envoy Susan Rice addresses interest groups, in move some see advancing Secretary of State bid.”

Video: Atlanta Jewish Times publisher’s tearful anti-apology, Allison Deger
Sunday, Atlanta Jewish Times owner and publisher Andrew Adler issued a 20-minute tearful explanation for his January 13 column, which called for a “hit” on president Obama, in an interview with a public access channel. Despite this platform where the publisher could purify himself for his “deranged and morally repugnant” remarks, Adler never apologized.

Israeli Assassinations and American Presidents, Alison Weir
On Jan. 13 the Atlanta Jewish Times featured a column by its owner-publisher suggesting that Israel might someday need to “order a hit” on the president of the United States. In the column, publisher Andrew Adler describes a scenario in which Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu would need to “give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents […]

The divergent faces of Israel: fascism, indifference and a little humanism
Lawrence Davidson It is strange, all countries have such self-aware and active humanists and all of them probably have these people in the same relative proportion – about 15 per cent. This is just large enough to remind us of what good humanity is capable of, but just too small to help us realize that good.

Israel’s latest threat — the silver screen, Adam Horowitz
The JTA has a report up today bemoaning the reception Israel is receiving at this year’s Sundance film festival. Matthew Weinstein says “the views of Israel range from critical to abysmal.”

Stop the Pro-Israel Lobby, Stuart Littlewood
The Queen needs a new royal yacht. But the British government says it can’t afford to buy her one. The £80 million for the project must come from private sources. “Leading British companies will… be asked to donate funds in exchange for naming rights to various decks and facilities on board,” says The Guardian. Does this mean Her Majesty will be seen entertaining in the Goldman Sachs stateroom and sipping daiquiris on the Starbucks sun-deck? Will she shelter from squalls in the Murdoch salon and arrive and depart via the Revlon helipad?

Testimonies from the Heart of Darkness, Tamar Fleishman – The West Bank
‘This place is the carbuncle on the ass of the occupation,’ said Dalit Baum as the gates of Ofer prison closed behind us. The Palestinian residents of the West Bank, who had been living under occupation for over forty years and are deprived of their basic rights, are brought to justice in military courts.  This entire legal system- investigators, prosecutors and judges- is comprised of men and women, in uniform, who are subordinated to and serve, not the principles of justice and law, but the mechanism of the occupation.

The antiwar left must rise again. Now, Bruce Wolman
For the last month there has been a rather heated discussion on this site and others about Ron Paul and to what extent his candidacy for the Presidency should be viewed as a positive vehicle for raising the issues of war, occupation, America’s military footprint (including bases) apoad, interventionism and civil liberties. Having watched Ron Paul the other night in the first Florida Primary debate, I can only conclude that his participation in these debates is helpful to those issues. His arguments were reasonable and plausible, and should not have been taken as extreme by the average viewer. Moreover, Paul faced three other individuals on the stage who presented polar opposite views to himself. On the issue of Iran specifically, Romney, Gingrich and Santorum had a contest to see who could sound more determined about going to war with Iran. Sadly, it is highly unlikely that we will hear such contrasting viewpoints in the future debates involving President Obama.


4 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    January 27, 2012, 11:13 am

    A powerful essay by Ajl.

    • Avi_G.
      January 28, 2012, 2:32 am

      Ajl is basing his argument on the premise that the United States has an interest in unresolved conflicts in the Middle East. As an aside, he needs to include credible data from the last thirty years (before and after the Cold War) that shows how much military hardware Arab states in the region had purchased from the US.

      I think you will find the numbers to be rather low, compared, for example, to the market value of the military hardware the United States gives to Israel. In other words, neither market is lucrative enough for the US to seek continued wars and conflicts in the region.

      Syria hasn’t the economic capital to make such purchases. In fact, the country’s economy, in 2009, was on the brink of collapse and remains quite shaky.

      Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen are client states; they tend to receive US aid rather than invest in military weapons purchases. And most of that aid goes into maintaining the governments’ bureaucratic apparatuses in their various forms.

      So that leaves Saudi Arabia and Israel. Thus, Ajl’s argument simply doesn’t hold water, especially when he writes:

      There is no question that the Israel lobby narrows the parameters of debate on Israel, but nor is there a question that, even without the lobby, negotiations would be about the dimensions of the Palestinians’ cage. Freedom is not on Washington’s agenda.

      • Dan Crowther
        January 28, 2012, 1:28 pm

        I didn’t get that he was talking about US capital investments into the other Arab states, I think he was speaking towards the role of US and international capital into the Israeli economy/occupation.

        I think his broader point is that while the Lobby does have some sway, those arguing that the occupation and US/israeli policies are in some way against US interests –which to him, and me for example, are synonymous with capital– are making a fallacious argument. Go tell Warren Buffett for example, that the occupation is bad for business is what he is saying; but Warren Buffets’ bottom line would disagree with that contention. (and he does invest highly into israel).

        Ajl’s points are well taken because he is looking to extract the “perceived US interest” in the advocacy of someone like Finkelstein and also Ali Abuminah who he cites. Finkelstein, although he doesnt mean to, makes the same case as the Lobby fetishists, that US interests are harmed by the Israeli occupation/policies towards the Palestinians. But “US Interests” can only be defined by access to resources and return on investment – in this sense, Israel and all that comes with it have been a smashing success. And that is why he is for “anti-systemic” efforts, that draw stark contrasts between the goals of US interests and those of actual humans.

        I dont think Ajl is basing his argument so much on the US having an interest in “unresolved conflicts” as he is saying the US has an interest that is opposed to Arab nationalism/self determination/democracy. And a quick glance around the region, and brief review of its recent history (since oil was discovered) bears this out, at least in my opinion. His arguments are closer to Chomsky’s “grand area” assertions, which again in my opinion are far more helpful in understanding not only the I/P conflict, but the regional conflicts as well

  2. yourstruly
    January 28, 2012, 2:24 am

    powerful analysis, confronting unaccountable power, solidarity with the palestinian people. below, a few choice tidbits –

    rejection of substantive palestinian statehood is a shared policy of u.s. & israeli elites

    even without the lobby negotiations would be about the dimensions of the palestinian cage

    …to adopt two states as a formal platform plays into the peace process farce of the power elites……by insisting that the issue is the occupation and the system of apartheid enforced by the israeli state, the bds platform dances nimbly through the peace process trap which has placed the palestinian push for statehood in permanent stasis

    washington is so tightly tied to and invested in the israeli ruling class’s interests and so inhumane when it comes to the palestinian future that only under great pressure
    will it budge from its rejectionism

    it is hard to imagine one democratic state without regional revolution

    even the intermediate goal of ending the struggle means anti-systemic struggle: a struggle that will lead to a more democratic and egalitarian world

    as to who will lead the struggle it is for the palestinians to choose, because it is their struggle –

    pinning the blame for the occupation merely on the lobby and the foreign influences on our government – a raw appeal to racist-white power jingoism – won’t liberate palestine

    nor are dissaffected liberals, jewish and non-jewish alike capable of fighting an anti-systemic struggle (they reject it and an insurrectionary politics of bottom-up mobilization. and both the scapegoaters and the liberals look for a quick solvent to melt the chains shackling the palestinian people. that solvent is snake oil. there are no short cuts.

    the heroic struggle of the egyptian people has brought us to a new political terrain….if in the aftermath of early tremors, the arab revolts lead to stronger upheavals they will further restructure the political topography of palestine-israel. these revolts need solidarity. and solidarity is made of blood and sacrifice, not pandering in an effort to conjure up the chimera of a liberatory right-populist movement or a liberal-realist coalition coming together to defend the american ‘national interest’, nor the opportunistic illusion that the route to liberations runs through the corporate headquarters of exxon. the animating fire shouldn’t be resignation but redemption. this is the palestinian position. we should make it our own.

    so we have a question before us.

    it is if we will honor the moment in which we have the rare luck of living?

    how shall we answer?

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